Ill-advised timber sale

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, August 26, 2002

The Forest Service proposes a large timber sale at Point Couverden, an area very heavily used by Juneauites recreating there. Several cruise ships pass Point Couverden daily during the summer season, and most people traveling to Glacier Bay pass the area. And unless you're a logger, clear-cutting is ugly.

This sale will likely lose a great deal of money. Taxpayers will again be billed for removing Tongass resources. One would think that "conservative" politicians would oppose such an idea, but there are obviously other, more hidden components at work here and other constituencies being favored.

The Forest Service makes the specious argument that the sale is needed in part to restore fish passage by repairing damages caused by their earlier roading. They also say they can't afford to maintain the many thousands of miles of roads already on the Tongass. But, they propose to build yet more roads!

The low value timber species available in this sale will likely attract little interest from logging operators unless the sale is heavily subsidized. This means the process of planning this sale is an exercise in futility. The currently depressed state of the timber industry also makes it questionable that large amounts of timber are even needed.

Once cut, old-growth trees will be gone, essentially forever - certainly for our and the next several generations. The economic benefits for the timber industry will be temporary, while economic opportunities are reduced for the rest of us, forever. It is not in the interests of our region to destroy the very things that our economy is now based upon - namely tourism, recreation and fishing. There is no questions that large-scale logging with have detrimental effects on all of these. This is an undeniable fact.

In summary, the proposed Point Couverden timber sale is ill advised, ill considered, damaging to the economy, damaging to the environment, uneconomical, costly to the taxpayer, futile, unwarranted, and unneeded. Make your voice heard to protest this insanity.

Erik Lie-Nielsen


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